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A pick 'n' mix genre author. "I'm not greedy. I just like variety."

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

My World Guest Interview: Zee Monodee


EM: Welcome to My World, Zee. It is lovely to have you here today :-)

Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Of course! Hello, ye all! Pleasure to be here today!

Okay, so about me.... Early thirties, desperate housewife, crazy wife & parent, shoeholic, shopaholic, bookholic (*secret* I hoard ebooks....) Despite a degree in communications science and media management, I somehow abhor the corporate world so prefer to work from home in my PJs and slippers to pen more romance books. J

1. How long have you been writing for?

Close to a decade now *gasp* I hadn’t realized it’s been this long.... Writing has just always been a part of me so when I started actively putting words to paper and later on, to screen, it just felt like a natural extension of the storytelling that had been happening in my mind all along.

2. Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer?

Yes. Writing was my dream – you know, the one that you aspire to ‘if you could do anything’ or if you won the lottery and were able to quit the day job. I didn’t win the lottery per se (though that’s debatable when you read the next few words...yep, I’m a lucky git!); I did, however, win an awesome man who had no issues with me quitting my corporate job to bring up our son while leaving him with the sole breadwinner status (yes, I am a ‘kept’ woman, LOL). My husband was also the first one I told about my dream to write, and even more amazing on his part, he told me, “Why wait for ‘one day’? One day is right now; it’s what you make every moment to be.” I needed no further prompt, and haven’t looked back ever since.

3. What is your favourite genre to read? To write? And why?

Fave to read – definitely chick lit! Remember in my description above, I said shoeholic and shopaholic; where else but in chick lit can you fulfil those addictions all while vicariously living in a big city and meeting gorgeous men and nodding right along to all the woman/girl issues the heroine might be facing? So that’s my escape – I read to get into another world and the best ticket for me is chick lit.

Fave to write – well, I can’t write funny to save my life, so it’s definitely not chick lit! But I grew up on drama and over-the-topness (Indian origin, aka Bollywood background!), so I love writing about that kind of drama and situations, too. So I’d say contemporary romance with a big slice of cultural life thrown in. This is ‘my’ world, and I love sharing it with others.

4. Who is your favourite author? Fave book? And why?

I can give you 3 names for fave authors – sorry, but I cannot whittle it down to less. They are Sophie Kinsella (queen of chick lit!), Martina Cole (queen of darkish, at times violent, issues and ‘shades of grey’ characters that you root for even if they happen to be crime lords!), & Kristan Higgins (queen of small town romance and intense characterization – read her Blue Heron series and you’ll know what I mean!).

Any of these authors’ books can land on my fave list – I really cannot choose *sobs into hands – this is soooo hard!* J

5. How do you get your ideas?

LOL – I have absolutely no clue! They just seem to pop up out of the blue. Sometimes, it’s a character – like in my current WIP. Leah, the heroine, just appeared in my head looking like Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) and in her head rang this one line: “You’re a fraud.” Why would she think that? And this got me digging into who she is and what could/would be her story.

But I tend to believe my ideas come a lot from people watching and then ‘grasping’ the human psyche and how it functions. Talk shows are a huge well of inspiration to find out how people act and react and I’m always shelving every detail away – my subconscious might reckon I have use for it one day and just push it forward.

Okay, that sounds like utter malarkey, innit? LOL. To be really honest, I have no idea where story ideas come from. They just seem to find me, is all.

6. In your opinion what is the hardest part of the writing process?

In the past, I have said ‘the sagging middle’, but I want to change this answer now.

The hardest part is putting fingers to keyboard and just writing. It is so easy to procrastinate, then tell yourself you’ll never be as good as the last work you contracted, that you won’t get the same kind of inspiration as when you wrote your last story.... These are the hardest demons to fight, to ignore, just so you get started with new writing.

7. In your opinion what is the best part of the writing process?

When you hit that roll where everything is falling into place AND your characters are surprising you – in a good way! – with what they are deciding to do that sometimes might be eons away from what you’d planned for them. I love that rush, that high. J

8. Are you a planner or a panster?

A mix of both. I never start a story without knowing where I’m going, so there is plotting involved. But the road to get there can take many turns, and in that, I am a pantster. In short, I have a destination but I don’t exactly know how to get there; it’s a journey to get from A to B.

9. Do you prefer to concentrate on one story, or juggle a few?

Actual writing – one story, though that’s not always possible (like, my Eternelles series, co-written with my bestie, releases all year round, so we’re always writing one book in the lineup. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have other stories to write for my other series, deadlines to meet, etc.)

But at any point in time, I will be juggling 2-3-4 story ideas in my head, watching to see how each should unfold or how each wants to unfold. (ahem, no wonder I’m a basket case otherwise...)

11. Out of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite and why?

Easy – it will be Diya Hemant, the heroine from Light My World. When I wrote her, we were of the same age, and though I’d already been married and a mum/stepmum back then, I could easily imagine what life would’ve been like if I’d been single and still searching for my Prince Charming (all while my mother and aunties tried to shack me up with the first eligible prospect they’d hear about!).

Diya has a lot of me in her – basically, I was somewhat writing myself in her part, and that was immense fun. She and ‘clicked’ on a level I have never reached with any other character, and Diya has got to be the sunniest, most positive, brightest, and most fun characters I have imagined (lol, she’s me, but the ‘better’ version!).

12. If you could meet any fictional character, who would you meet and why?

Any one of Martina Cole’s heroines, though I’d have a penchant for Maura Ryan, her heroine from Dangerous Lady (Maura Ryan #1). Maura, at 17, has her world shattered when she is forced to abort her baby and ends up being told she’ll never conceive again. Losing her will to live, she however channels all her rage into becoming one of the most notorious crime bosses of the London East End gangland that she rules with her brother, Michael. But through it all, Maura still remains a broken woman at the heart of her, and she yearns for the love of the one man she cannot have, who is a cop.

Maura Ryan epitomised strength of character and heart and spirit. She’s tough and ruthless, but you also see this fragile side of her throughout, and you cannot help but want to protect her.... She is fascinating, really, and she fascinates me!


Are you working on anything at the moment?

Yes – the story I mentioned above, with the heroine named Leah. The title is Breaking Free, and it’s an intense romance between this girl from the wrong side of the tracks who somehow made it big into society, and her meeting with an uptight viscount who lives only for propriety.

And there’s also the next book in the Daimsbury Chronicles series – it’s the story of Luke Morelli, the underwear supermodel who’s also the brother of Liam (hero of the first book, Bad Luck with Besties). Luke’s story is titled Her Name Is Trouble, and this calamity who sends his life topsy turvy is Texas transplant Missy Taylor.

Do you have any current release?

Yes, I do! It’s Light My World, book 2 of my Island Girls Trilogy!

Blurb:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that to find a prince, a girl has to kiss a few frogs along the way. But what happens when a modern-day princess comes across…an ogre?

So what if a girl has to kiss a few frogs to find her prince?

Tired of her Indian-origin mother’s relentless matchmaking, Diya Hemant is determined to find her Prince Charming on her terms. Armed with a definitive list of requirements, she is sure she’ll know her man when she meets him…

But looking and finding are two different things, especially on the tiny island of Mauritius…

When her path crosses surly British widower Trent Garrison’s, it’s hate at first sight. And though fate keeps pitting her against him, she’s certain he can’t be turned into a frog let alone a prince.

Can this modern-day princess overcome her own expectations and see beyond the ogre to the man beneath?


Purchase link:







Any upcoming releases?

May 13, 2014 sees the release of one of my previously-pubbed novels, the sweet romance Calling Home which is set in Surrey, England. The heroine, Margo, is an uptight and rational forensic pathologist who lands herself custody of an 11-year-old girl. Clueless about relationships let alone young girls, Margo is at a loss. But she need not despair...as the sexy young doctor next door seems more than willing to help!

The story has been extended and intensively revised from its previous edition, and I look forward to seeing it come out again.


Where can readers find you on the internet?

At my blog/site http://zeemonodee.blogspot.com , plus I’m just an email away zeemonodee@hotmail.com

And also on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads – just search for Zee Monodee on there!

Any advice you would like to give aspiring writers?

Believe in yourself! Even if you end up writing utter crap, well, YOU would’ve written it! We all start by writing crap, and it’s only practise that makes us better. So write, write, write, and forget about everything else. 

EM: Thank you so much for joining me!

ZM: Pleasure was all mine, darling!!! xoxo

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Title: Light My World
Series: Book #2 in the Island Girls Trilogy
Author: Zee Monodee
Line: Ubuntu (geared to African Romance)
Publisher: Decadent Publishing, LLC
Release date: April 8, 2014
Genre: Romantic Comedy/ Interracial Multicultural Romance/ Interracial Romance/ Bollywood/ Humour/ New Adult
Length: 262 pages
Heat Level: Sensual/ 2 flames

Blurb:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that to find a prince, a girl has to kiss a few frogs along the way. But what happens when a modern-day princess comes across…an ogre?

So what if a girl has to kiss a few frogs to find her prince?

Tired of her Indian-origin mother’s relentless matchmaking, Diya Hemant is determined to find her Prince Charming on her terms. Armed with a definitive list of requirements, she is sure she’ll know her man when she meets him…

But looking and finding are two different things, especially on the tiny island of Mauritius…

When her path crosses surly British widower Trent Garrison’s, it’s hate at first sight. And though fate keeps pitting her against him, she’s certain he can’t be turned into a frog let alone a prince.

Can this modern-day princess overcome her own expectations and see beyond the ogre to the man beneath?

Buy Links:







Trailer:


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Excerpt:

He heard more than felt the car hit the back of the SUV, which had halted in a screech of tyres. The smell of burnt rubber filled his nostrils when the calm came back. He expected the airbag to blow from the wheel, but none released.
Better and better. The car wasn’t only tiny, it didn’t even have an airbag.
A wave of concern washed over him. He wasn’t hurt. At least, he didn’t feel any pain. But what about the other driver?
However, as he stepped out of the car, the worry drained away as another, stronger emotion settled in. Anger.
What sort of inconsiderate driver stopped like that in the middle of a main road?
The bloke should be tagged as a public danger. To top it all, he was going to be late to see his children.
Bloody hell!

His tall height allowed him to peer into the vehicle without much difficulty. He swept his gaze over the top half of the interior, and puzzlement replaced his fury.
The car couldn’t be empty. Where was the driver? When had he had the time to get out of the vehicle?
Walking around to the front of the hood, Trent stopped in his tracks.
The body of an unconscious—or worse, dead—dog lay sprawled on the street. Sunlight glinted off its shiny, metal-studded collar. Must’ve been the reason behind the streak of light that had blinded him and the other driver, too, probably.
As he ran a hand in his short hair, he cursed again. How did the locals respond to accidents here? Especially when there was a death involved, even of a dog? Not something he wanted to find out, and not as a participant in this involuntary homicide.
With his hand on his mouth, he goggled at the dog that picked itself up and hobbled across to the other side of the road, before disappearing in between two rows of sugarcane.
What the hell? What was it with this strange island? Couldn’t anything be predictable on it?
The muffled opening click of a car door broke the silence, and Trent stepped back to glare at the person getting out, more like slithering out, of the SUV.
A slim pair of legs emerged and wobbled for a second after the sandal-clad feet hit the asphalt.
When the door closed, he glimpsed a short denim dress hugging a tiny frame. Straight black hair brushed the shoulders and the lapels of the collar, and framed a lovely, delicate face.
He had to blink a few times. The woman, or the girl, could pass for a life-sized doll. She stood no taller than five feet, so small he could probably encircle her waist with his hands. Her eyes were deep-set and dark, rimmed with black kohl. Her golden skin struck him as somewhat pale underneath her makeup, and she bit her full, pale lips, as if trying to work some colour into them.
“Thank God the dog is alive,” she said in a light, youthful voice. “I sure would’ve hated to have killed it. Lucky there isn’t any damage.”
Her voice reminded him of laughter, and the tinkling of fragile crystal flutes.
Shaking off the bizarre notion, a slow throb built in his blood. The overwhelming feeling settled as a twitch in his cheek, and he winced when a stab of pain shot from his clenched jaw.
No damage? What about his car? “Miss, you demolished my car.”
Nothing betrayed her cool composure when she checked out his car before staring at him again.
“Sorry, but you hit from behind. You’re at fault.”
He’d started to think that the delicate motion with her frail shoulder could topple her over, so much she seemed fragile. But the concern sputtered into outrage once her words registered. The cheek of the girl.
She’d stopped dead in the middle of the road. How the heck could it be his fault? “If it weren’t for you, none of this would’ve happened,” he snapped in a low growl.
She pursed her full lips, and jutted her pointed chin out in a fierce way as she settled her hands on her hips. Craning her slender neck to peer into his face, she stood her ground.
“Well, I should’ve killed the dog? This is what you wanted?”
“No, but—”
“And you wouldn’t have jammed into my car if you hadn’t been tailgating me.”
“I wasn’t tailgating you—”
“Yes, you were.” She poked a finger into his chest. “And you were speeding, at least a hundred where the limit is sixty.”
Could this girl be for real? “Miss, you were going faster than me, so don’t get on your high horse here.”
She poked him again. “Stop evading the issue. It’s your fault.”
Disbelief strangled his throat. She glared back, not in the least bit intimidated by the fact he towered above her by more than a foot.
At the same time, he flinched under her accusing words. Kill the dog. Right. Like he’d have wanted to kill a poor animal. What was it about this scrap of a girl that had him so ruffled?
A thought struck him. “Are you old enough to drive?”
“I’m twenty-four years old, for your information,” she said, spitting the words out at him.
So she could be held responsible for the accident. “My car is damaged, and it’s your fault.”
Blimey. They sounded like little children during kindergarten recess in the schoolyard.
He should drop this matter, deal with her like the adult he prided himself to be.
If she’d let him, though. Her dark eyes grew even darker as they narrowed on him. Fire, or ice, burnt in them. Her voice dripped with frost when she next spoke.
“I thought British men were supposed to be courteous.”
“I beg your pardon?” She’d done it again, struck him speechless. Unbelievable.
She fluttered her hand before her in an evasive gesture as she shook her head. “You know, proper British manners. Can’t say you’ve shown any so far.”
How could she sound so righteous, as if she were the injured party?
“How do you know I’m British? Does it read not-from-Mauritius somewhere on my face?”
“Your accent,” she said. “You speak just like Hugh Grant.”
Hugh Grant? That pasty-faced pin-up?
Even better. Not. “Thanks. It’s a very positive compliment.”
Trent had the pleasure of seeing his sarcasm unsettle the unnerving Miss Know-it-all. Her chest rose and fell in rapid succession as she glowered at him.
“You’re so….” She paused and seemed to search around for the proper word. “…obnoxious.”
And she was a brat. Nothing more.
Her barb hit home, though. He’d been called many things in his life, but this one was a first. And coming from a tiny lady like her, he didn’t know whether to laugh or be annoyed. He couldn’t remember the last time, if ever, he’d had such a verbal joust with someone. Loath as he was to admit, but tangling with her tickled him as stimulating as the encounter unnerved him.
Blimey, he had no time to dwell upon that. He was getting late. And he itched to shut the little spoilt princess up.
“My, incredible,” he said. “A pretty head as yours came up with such a big word. I sure hope you won’t get a nosebleed from too much brain activi—”
Yes, he’d been callous, but the sight before him horrified him more. He stood there, his jaw slackening as his mouth fell open.
“What?” she asked.
He pointed at her face. “Your nose. It’s bleeding.”

~ * ~


Tweetables:

To find a prince, a girl has to kiss some frogs...but an ogre? No way! LIGHT MY WORLD by @ZeeMonodee #romcom #kindle http://amzn.to/1iidtsW

When a modern-day princess finds herself an ogre instead of a prince! LIGHT MY WORLD by @ZeeMonodee #new #romance http://bit.ly/1qbSzAa

#UK citizen Trent wanted peace in #Mauritius. Instead, he finds spitfire Diya! LIGHT MY WORLD by @ZeeMonodee http://amzn.to/1fUzwsE

Diya wants to find Prince Charming. But she lands on an ogre named Trent! LIGHT MY WORLD by @ZeeMonodee #Nook #romcom http://bit.ly/QVqmDA

Can modern-day princes be disguised as ogres? LIGHT MY WORLD by @ZeeMonodee (Book2 of IslandGirls) #multicultural http://amzn.to/1iidtsW

#Mauritius, 2005=more straightlaced than Victorian times! How to find love there? LIGHT MY WORLD by @ZeeMonodee #UK http://amzn.to/1fUzwsE

"You're the one person I hoped to never meet again!" #novelines LIGHT MY WORLD by @ZeeMonodee #romcom #Mauritius http://amzn.to/1iidtsW

#5-star #review LIGHT MY WORLD BY @ZeeMonodee - "...a read for when you are lying in bed on a cold day..." http://amzn.to/1iidtsW

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About the author:

Zee Monodee
Stories about love, life, relationships... in a melting-pot of culture

Zee is an author who grew up on a fence – on one side there was modernity and the global world, on the other there was culture and traditions. Putting up with the culture for half of her life, one day she decided she'd stand tall on her wall and dip toes every now and then into both sides of her non-conventional upbringing.

From this resolution spanned a world of adaptation and learning to live on said wall. The realization also came that many other young women of the world were on their own fence.

This particular position became her favourite when she decided to pursue her lifelong dream of writing – her heroines all sit 'on a fence', whether cultural or societal, in today's world or in times past, and face dilemmas about life and love.

Hailing from the multicultural island of Mauritius, Zee is a degree holder in Communications Science. She is a head-over-heels wife, in-over-her-head mum to a tween son, best-buddy-stepmum to a teenage lad, an incompetent domestic goddess, eternal dreamer, and an absolute, shameless bookholic. When she isn’t penning more stories and/or managing the Ubuntu line at Decadent Publishing, you can bet you’ll find her with her nose in her tablet, ‘drinking in’ a good book.

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Tidbits about this book & series (please choose 1 or 2, whichever you feel more relevant for your blog):

- The Island Girls trilogy follows the 3 Hemant sisters – Lara, Neha, Diya – over the span of the 2000-2010 decade, chronicling the changing face of the Mauritian society over that crucial period.

- Book 2, Light My World, is Diya’s hilarious quest to find Prince Charming in the sea of frogs that is Mauritius (well, what it is according to her perception!). Follow her on this desperate mission!

- Book 3, Winds of Change, follows Neha as she must come to terms with widowhood and the fact that her marriage has always been a sham. In waltzes a man with the ability to make the perfect, ‘saintly’ widow she is burn with passion like she never suspected existed. Will the saint turn into a sinner, or find her rightful place simply as a woman? Coming soon in 2014.

- Book 1, The Other Side, was the eldest sister, Lara’s, journey to find herself after a painful divorce in England. Back in Mauritius, where her divorcee status makes her a pariah, her path crosses that of her very first love, Eric Marivaux. Eric is white...while Lara is brown. Colour codes shouldn’t exist in modern times, but they’re still very much alive and thriving on the island! Released June 30, 2013.

- Mauritius, where this trilogy takes place, is a small tropical island in the southern Indian Ocean. There are no natives, and the land has been entirely populated by immigrants. Under Dutch rule in the 17th century; French rule until 1810; then a British colony from 1810 to 1968 when it reached independence, the island is a mix of races and religions.

- All over the world, a race/culture’s diaspora tends to cling to it motherland’s mores, values, and traditions, even more than necessary...and this is the case in Mauritius, too. With more than half of the population descending from Indians, India’s culture is very much alive and thriving...making love and marriage a pretty hellish business for young girls looking for their independence!

- Diya is an exception more than the norm – at 24, she has broken away from her family without burning any bridges, having her own place and business. A feat, when considering how parents hoard their kids until marriage on the island. One prison for another, as Diya sees it.

- What makes the perfect man? Should he be handsome, rich, have a great job, good manners, be suave and sophisticated? Light My World touches upon this question, and young women the world over will probably find themselves in Diya and her quest for Mr. Perfect.

- At the heart of Light My World is a situation that wasn’t very prominent or even talked about back in the first decade of the 2000s: children from another union. Anyone who came with children was regarded as a second-grade prospect...and the very idea of combining families was almost an aberration!

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